Posted on May 26 2016
My most anticipated part of the spring, truly, was the release of the new Limelife Teacher Planner. I have tried so many different planners in the course of my 8 – has it really been that long?! – years teaching, and I have experimented, hacked, and played…but never found something that really worked for me. The number of different planners I’ve had is almost shameful – and then, I found Limelife.
My teacher planer, with my gorgeous cover…complete with one of my favorite quotes from The Little Prince ~ #englishteachersforever – I used the Arc system on my planner instead of a coil, or a binder…but I’ll get into that later!
I’m a 6th grade English teacher in a middle school – because of this, I’ve struggled to find teacher planner layouts that work for my schedule! I have four different preps, and a fifth prep every other day in our schedule. Many planners fit the ‘elementary school’ model – a vertical reflection of the week. Limelife’s layout H is a good example of an elementary school week! However; for someone with multiple different preps and a rotating schedule, this is limiting. Our classes rotate, some classes get to different things on different days, and it makes planning messy. That’s why I love the Limelife ‘TP’ so much – there are different layouts to choose from!
You can find them all here, but I’m going to show you my chosen layout – I.
Here’s a look at layout I, blank!
Layout I works best for me because I have so many different preps – there are nine boxes which gives me plenty of room for daily reminders, homeroom attendance, a to-do for the day’s prep period, and after-school notes. Although this planner is for next school year – 2016-2017 – I took an April page and filled it in for my actual week, to give everyone an example of how it would look.
I had lots of questions from my teacher pals on how I plan ~ Here’s what my week looks like at full size, and a close-up at my colorful side-boxes.
Like I noted before – there’s a box for today, homeroom, my four classes – B/C/E/F, SuperCore (my extra prep), my free period, and after school kids or activities!
You can also see how I use some of the boxes!
- Daily reminders in the first box; what ‘day’ it is in our 6-day rotation, what’s big for the day, etc.
- Homeroom for absences – student name changed, of course!
- B/C/E/F: what we’re doing today. If one class gets further than another, I usually note that in the next day and adjust as I go! – This is why I always plan in pencil – but only in my TP!
- SuperCore, a separate class..
- What I need to do during my prep period
- Anything I have to remember after school!
The rest of the teacher planner is filled with important essentials – including things that I had lots of requests for showing off! Teachers know the importance of organization, above-all-else. The Limelife Teacher Planner lends itself to that!
This is a look at a blank ‘month at a glance’ – I use this for future curriculum planning, and again – always in pencil! I can change it up if I’m ahead or behind, but it is incredibly helpful to plan months ahead, especially if I’m plotting out novel studies. I need to make sure I have plenty of time to get all my standards in, around my novels and Writer’s Workshops!
These are two pages that I think are huge, but also understand that the need/desire/ease of use can differ amongst educators. Parent Contact Info can be great if you have a limited number of students – I certainly wouldn’t add all 90 of my families there, but might keep track of any that are super helpful, or are in frequent communication with me. Similarly, the IEP overview is great if you have a certain capped amount of students on IEPs, but there is also the issue of confidentiality! Some teachers are comfortable with this, others aren’t! So, you have to decide what works for you. :)
These are check-list add ons for the teacher planner ~ I make lists constantly, and usually my desk is covered in sticky notes. Which…makes me both happy (all the colors!) and crazy, because sometimes I can’t find the bottom. Sigh.. – This add on solves that issue! I can make and keep lists in my planner, and having ARC’d the planner – see, I told you I’d get back to this – with the Arc punch, I can remove the sheets when they’re full, move them around as I need them, etc. There are three options for how the planner comes to you: coiled, unpunched or 3-hole punched. I chose unpunched and ARC’d it, but I also have what feels like 9 million binders in my classroom. I also like being able to move my pages around and remove them easy-peasy. Choose what you like best! (But remember: lots of add-ons will make it hard to coil!)
This is a blank gradebook sheet ~ Sometimes called the ‘checklist’ – I added more to my planner, which is also an add-on option for this. Again, super helpful for me because I have four quarters and so many different classes! The colors bring a little extra joy to the tedium of grade keeping ;) – If you have to keep grades online, this is also great for attendance, book numbers, report card sheet returns, field trip sheet returns… the possibilities are endless.
I was asked on Facebook how I use my grade sheets – and I had to respond with my favorite thing: COLOR CODING! (I know. Broken record, but seriously..) I have four separate categories for grades that I use every year: Tests & projects, quizzes, writing, and participation/classwork. I use different colors for each to keep track of how many of each I have in a quarter. This is also huge for identifying where a student is struggling at a quick look. If all his ‘green’ assignments are low, he’s struggling with writing. If all her ‘red’ assignments are low, she needs to prepare for tests better!
Remember – there are so many different layouts for the teacher planner, that you’ll be able to find the one that speaks to your teacher soul! Which one is your favorite? Do you like the week on one page? Do you need extra spaces for extra classes? Do you like having Saturday and Sunday options?
Share with me which one is your favorite, and why! I love meeting new teachers across the country – and even internationally – and would love to connect and talk ‘planner!’
This blog post was written by Keri Thivierge for the Limelife Planners Media & Creative Team. For more information about Keri visit her on Instagram @steviedplans. Please share and repost this blog entry with your friends! All we ask is that you give credit to Limelife Planners and the post author.